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Monday, April 16, 2012

The Pilgrimage of a Writer

The Maggie Project presents a guest blog by writer Geary Smith:

I was told that there are two great forces that drive us in life—inspiration and desperation. I think I experienced a little of both when I first started thinking about becoming a writer. I was fresh out of college when I came across an ad for becoming a successful writer. However after several weeks, the thought of becoming a successful writer had died. I realized much later that I had to make a change in my life.  I needed to take writing classes.
After encouraging advice from my instructors, I began to write again. I started with Highlights for Children Magazine based on my childhood reading. Therefore, I read and studied every Highlights Magazine that I could find, and then I began to write based on their needs and specifications.

After what seemed to be about one hundred rejections letters, I finally sold my first story entitled, “Follow Your Heart”, a re-told folktale. It was the most exciting feeling seeing my words combined with the illustrator’s colorful pictures in print for millions of children and parents to read and enjoy.

Ms. Marileta Robinson, Senior Editor for Highlights Magazine called me at home wanting to know  about the original source of the re-told folktale and how I developed the idea. It was a joy speaking with Ms. Robinson and providing her with the information for the story. In fact, Highlights wanted to send an article to my local newspaper about my story and announce when it would be published. I knew then, that I had the skills and ability to be a professional writer.
My first story not only led to a working relationship with Highlights for future stories, quizzes and activities, but it led to something I truly loved to do—speaking in schools and for local organizations.
Recently, I sold another story entitled, “Cock-A-Doodle, Whisper” to Highlights. It is based on how many times we get down on ourselves, but don’t realize how our gifts and talents benefit others. I wanted to take the idea of a rooster’s loud crows in the morning to teach children a valuable lesson about developing their gifts and talents. I feel that the story was accepted because Highlights likes to publish stories that are re-told fables or stories that teach a moral lesson. My story met the editor's needs. This simple fact applies to other magazines. Knowing your market is one of the biggest keys to becoming a successful writer. 

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